The evolution of slang in 2015 (and why you should probably stop saying on fleek next year)

The Oxford Word of the Year for 2015 isn’t a word a word at all. It’s an emoji. And not even a good one at that. The eggplant I can understand. But the tears of joy? Have you ever even used it in the context of “tears of joy?” No. You’ve used it as “I’m laughing so hard I am crying,” right?

What is happening to our usage of actual words? In 2015, we slumped to a new bottom for slang. Listen, I am not cool. I hardly have a social life, and I talk to about five people a day—and that’s a busy day. However, I’ve noticed some new words incorporated into 2015’s lexicon (do you hear that word, I am a SCHOLAR!) that I just cannot stand behind. Nor do I fully understand them. For the first time I feel like I am getting old, doing my best mom impression as I secretly whisper to my friends, “hey, what does ‘no tea no shade’ mean?” The more we slang, the less specific we get, and after a while, I have no idea what anyone is actually speaking about.

So, as we near 2016 and I worry about who my New Year’s Kiss will be, here is a guide to the evolution of language in 2015:

On Fleek

Originated: A Vine about eyebrows. Next time you use the word on fleek, maybe remind yourself that it originated from a Vine. About eyebrows.

Definition: To look good or to be on point.

Usage: This article is on fleek!

Current Status: STILL being used, and making it’s way to the older crowd. I’m talking to you, #coolmoms.

Can I still use it? Please no. Please, please no.


Originated: A Taylor Swift concert.

Definition: A group of friends. Typically comprised of one musician, one actress, one comedian, and at least 1-2 models, the more super the better.

Usage: My ideal squad would include all the Golden Girls, Queen Latifah, Tina Fey, and Dolly Patron.

Current Status: #Squadgoals is one of the most frequently used hash tags on Instagram! (I assume, who has the time to research these things!?)

Can I still use it? Sure, why not. I’ll allow this one for 2016.


Originated: Some mean person trying to harsh on my lifestyle!

Definition: Obvious, simple, boring.

Usage: Mostly used to describe white girls in Ugg boots holding Starbucks cups (filled with pumpkin spiced lattes).

Current Status: Is basic the first accepted form of reverse racism? Also, I kind of want to be basic. It seems like an incredibly pleasant lifestyle.

Can I still use it? No! Stop being mean to me!

Originated: Originated in the drag community as seen in the 90s documentary Paris is Burning, slowly adopted by other groups.

Definition: A sometimes not so thinly veiled insult. Also, it is usually thrown.

Usage: “No shade, but…..” [proceeds to say a bunch of shady things about someone]

Current Status: The Real Housewives of Atlanta love throwing shade.



Originated: Most famously used in the Broad City episode where Ilana says “Yaaas Queen!” to the little boy she is babysitting.

Definition: Used to express extreme approval.

Usage: For example, every time I see a picture of Diane Keaton wearing a turtle neck a “Yaaassss!” shoots out of my mouth.

Current Status: Still in use.

Can I still use it? Yas.


Originated: Some club kid probs?

Definition: Extremely turnt. Also, I think it can mean a party is fun.

Usage: Let’s get lit! Come through, it’s lit! (Ugh, I don’t even know anymore.)

Current Status: DEF still heavily in use.

Can I still use it? No. Be an adult in 2016!


Originated: Some asshole?

Definition: “That hoe over there”

Usage: There were tons of thots in the club last night.

Current Status: Should mean “that horrendous overused term,” AMIRITE?

Can I still use it? Don’t you even think about it mister.


Originated: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Definition: I feel like this has many different meanings. First, it can mean someone is looking good. Like, I come out in an outfit ready to go out with my girls and they all stare at me and are like “slayyyy!” and I know I look truly amazing. If later that night I slay a bunch of dudes it means I flirted or hooked up with them. I think in certain connotations it can mean something about fighting.

Usage: “Damn Ali, you slayed that entire pizza in under 20 minutes.” (Maybe?)

Current Status: Frequently used

Can I still use it? I don’t use it, but you do you.

Those are some top slang words for 2015. A fun drinking game for New Years might be to drink every time someone uses one of these words. Or, even more fun might be to obliterate these words from your vocabulary in general if you feel like you shouldn’t be using them, and try to be the best, most intelligent version of yourself for